Edward Gardner

Chief Conductor, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Conductor Designate, London Philharmonic Orchestra (from September 2021)

© Benjamin Ealovega


Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic since October 2015, Edward Gardner has led the orchestra on multiple international tours, including performances in Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam and at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival. Edward was recently appointed Principal Conductor Designate of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with his tenure commencing in September 2021.

In demand as a guest conductor, the previous two seasons saw Edward debut with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker and the Royal Opera House in a new production of ťa Kabanová; while returns included engagements with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano and Royal Opera House (Werther).

The 2020/21 season sees Edward open the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s season, returning later for more concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and a tour of Germany and the UK. Highlights with the Bergen Philharmonic include Verdi’s Macbeth in concert, undertaking a European tour, and celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with a two-week festival. Guest conducting highlights, and projects that will be rearranged due to COVID-19, include performances with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Music Director of English National Opera for ten years (2006-15), Edward has an ongoing relationship with New York’s Metropolitan Opera where he has conducted productions of La damnation de Faust, CarmenDon GiovanniDer Rosenkavalier and Werther. Elsewhere, he has conducted at La Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opéra National de Paris.

For full biography, please download Edward’s Publicity Pack.


Video & Audio

From The Green Room

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    30 Nov 19 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra Peter Grimes
    Royal Festival Hall

    “[the Bergen Philharmonic’s semi-staging of Britten’s Peter Grimes] can only be described as a formidable achievement, at once fiercely intelligent and visceral in its power.”

    “Gardner’s interpretation, already familiar from performances at ENO and the Proms, places the emphasis on the metaphysical links between the arbitrary violence of nature and the abyss of the human soul. The Bergen orchestra’s playing combines richness with precision, and Britten’s seascapes glittered balefully even in moments of uneasy calm. The storm of act one, meanwhile, found its hideous human counterpart in the lynch mob that later bays for Grimes’s blood.”

    ★★★★★  Tim Ashley, The Guardian

    “[Ed Gardner and Stuart Skelton’s] is one of the great musical partnerships, and they continue to find compelling new depths in this tragic masterpiece.”

    “Having the orchestra out front, rather than confined in the pit, not only imparted a tremendous punch to the fortissimo passages, it also allowed Gardner to reveal more fully than I have ever heard the wealth of atmospheric instrumental detail Britten poured into his score.”

    ★★★★★  Richard Morrison, The Times

    “Every little detail, like the gutty pizzicati for the Nieces’ wailing in the gale and the flurries of the magnificent Passacaglia, hit home with renewed realisation of Britten’s genius at every turn… The total triumph of the evening, then, rested with Gardner and his magnificent players. We need them back in concert at the Festival Hall, and soon.”

    ★★★★ David Nice, ArtsDesk

    “[Ed Gardner’s] command of Britten’s dramatic idiom is second to none. His pacing was perfect, his ability to make way for the singers’ words the work of a true operatic master, and in his hands the Sea Interludes took their place as central parts of the drama, rather than as mere scene-setting, most thrillingly in a real “bitch of a gale” in the Act 1 storm (to quote Captain Balstrode).”

    ★★★★ Matthew Rye, bachtrack

    “This poleaxing performance by a stellar cast backed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Edward Gardner cut into the bone like an icy North Sea wind.”

    ★★★★★ Barry Millington, Evening Standard

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    09 Oct 19 London Philharmonic Orchestra Bartok | Walton | Nielsen
    Royal Festival Hall

    “Nielsen’s “Inextinguishable” Symphony hasn’t been in the LPO’s repertoire for decades, yet the performance Gardner drew from his players was exhilarating for all the right reasons. He drove the music hard and the players dug in, the wind especially, finding new depths of tone and character. The stereo duet for timpani towards the end seemed a natural outburst, an extension of the exuberance that had gone before.

    If this is what Gardner and the LPO can achieve together we have much to look forward to.”

    Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 10 Oct 19

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    17 Sep 19 Werther
    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

    “Gardner, meanwhile, is superb in his understanding of both the score’s emotional complexities and its dark Wagnerian undertow.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 18 Sept 19

    “Edward Gardner is outstanding”

    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 19 Sept 19

    “Conductor Edward Gardner does full justice to Massenet’s expansive orchestra without sacrificing dramatic momentum.”

    Nick Kimberly, Evening Standard, 19 Sept 19

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    22 Jul 19 BBC Proms Royal Academy of Music & Julliard School
    Royal Albert Hall

    “They played two brilliantly coloured, rhythmically electric works which showed off conductor Edward Gardner’s skill in welding the two ensembles into one.”

    ★★★★ Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 23 July 19

    “Gardner conducted with admirable surety, and the orchestra sounded excellent, with their dark, full strings and bright brass and woodwind.”

    ★★★★ Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 24 July 19

    “Just as well, then, that the orchestra on the platform was bursting with youth, blending skilled and energetic students from the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Juilliard School in New York, under Edward Gardner’s tight control.”

    ★★★★ Geoff Brown, The Times, 23 July 19

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    17 May 19 Verdi 'Requiem'
    Minnesota Orchestra

    “Led by English conductor Edward Gardner, it was a gripping performance, a big, booming look at death that seemed designed both to comfort and to frighten you into repentance.”

    Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, 18 May 19

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    23 Mar 19 London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Festival Hall

    “Enjoying clear rapport with the musicians, Gardner drew dark, ominous sounds in keeping with the play for which the piece [Egmont Overture] was composed, Goethe’s portrayal of the 16th-century Dutch freedom fighter.”

    “[The way in which Soltani] and Gardner unfolded the first movement was a reminder of just how radical the work really was when it was premiered to widespread bafflement a century ago.”

    ★★★★ John Allison, The Telegraph, 24 March 19

    “In [Gardner’s] performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and in his supple accompaniment of Kian Soltani’s reading of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the pragmatism, sensitivity and ability to shape a long musical argument required of an opera conductor were keenly felt.”

    “Gardner’s Mahler opened with Beethovenian astral purity, transparent textures and glorious trumpet playing from Huw Morgan. […] this was an intelligent and exciting performance, with an athletically paced Ländler and silky Trio, a taut, ironic funeral procession, an absinthe glow to the harp and muted strings, and a dynamic sprint to the finale.

    ★★★★ Anna Picard, The Times, 25 March 19

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    04 Feb 19 Katya Kabanova
    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

    “[Edward Gardner] galvanises the orchestra into delivering Janacek’s ferocious score with fervour and finesse. Incredibly, given his talent and nationality, this is his Royal Opera main-stage debut. He must return often.”

    ★★★★★ Richard Morrison, The Times, 5 Feb 19

    “[Gardner] gives us a magnificent interpretation, inexorable in its momentum and perfectly attuned to both the score’s lyricism and its underlying sense of unease. The playing is faultless in its richness and detail.”

    ★★★★ Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 5 Feb 19

    “Edward Gardner finds emotion in every phrase and opens us vistas of stillness that gaze out on a future empty of hope.”

    ★★★★ Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 5 Feb 19

    “Edward Gardner combines potent atmosphere with sharp detail in his clear-eyed realisation of the emotionally complex score.”

    ★★★★ George Hall, The Stage, 5 Feb 19

    “[Edward Gardner makes] his house-debut with such serene authority – in a score that twists and turns, dips and tosses, like a boat on turbulent seas – that he gets his own ovation at the interval.”

    ★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent, 7 Feb 19

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    17 Dec 18 Berlioz L'enfance du Christ BBC Symphony Orchestra

    “An exemplary Berliozian, Gardner conducted with great refinement and intelligence, keenly alert to the music’s shifts in mood and carefully balancing drama with contemplation.”

    “A beautiful performance of an exceptionally moving work.”

    ★★★★ Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 18 Dec 18

    “These postcards were finely painted by the conductor Edward Gardner, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, four strong soloists, the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Singers (making a tingly contribution as angels from on high, literally as well as metaphorically).”

    “Otherwise, with unhurried tempos and delicate precision, Gardner skilfully judged the metre of the piece”

    “While religious agnostics can still find plenty to love in this piece, the performers do have to show a special commitment. These ones did.”

    ★★★★ Neil Fisher, The Times, 18 Dec 18

    “Edward Gardner gave it all the focused love it needed.”

    “In this, whether religious or not, we all had our seasonal vision.”

    ★★★★★ David Nice, 18 Dec 18, Arts Desk

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    06 Dec 18 Wagner / Strauss / Nielsen Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Orchestra Hall, Chicago

    “[Gardner] made an extraordinarily compelling case for Nielsen’s methods in general, “The Inextinguishable” in particular.”

    Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, 7 Dec 18

    “[Gardner] proved most impressive in his downtown CSO debut.”

    Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, 7 Dec 18

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    21 Aug 18 Wallin (world premiere) / Sibelius Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    BBC Proms

    “[The Sibelius] was sharply etched, powerfully moving and the best that I have heard recently. By keeping the textures so clear, Gardner underlined what a complex, adventurous creature this symphony is — built from shifting layers and volatile moods and driven onwards with mounting tension.”

    ★★★★ Geoff Brown, The Times, 23 Aug 18

    “Gardner has the ability to galvanise symphonies on this scale without resource to exaggeration and the well-rehearsed Bergen orchestra matched him all the way.”

    ★★★★ Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 22 Aug 18

    “[Their performance of] Sibelius’s Symphony No 2 […] confirmed at every moment what a fine-tuned orchestra this is.”

    Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 2 Sept 18

    “Gardner brought a rapt, numinous sensibility to bear.”

    ★★★★ Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 22 Aug 18

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    12 Aug 18 Boulanger / Elgar / Vaughn Williams BBC Symphony Orchestra
    BBC Proms

    “Gardner — always strong in British repertoire — exuded evangelical authority for a score that deserves more outings than it gets.”

    ★★★★ Neil Fisher, The Times, 14 Aug 18

    “Gardner led a fine performance of choral music ”

    ★★★★ Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 13 Aug 18

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    04 Aug 18 Haydn's 'Creation' Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Edinburgh International Festival

    “Gardner’s interpretation was most effective when sending the fabulously alert Scottish Chamber Orchestra whirling through the mercurial counterpoint of choruses such as The Heavens are Telling, or when pouncing on Haydn’s menagerie of animal impressions like a conjuror pulling not just rabbits but tigers, worms, cattle and even whales out of his hat.”

    ★★★★ Richard Morrison, The Times, 8 Aug 18

    “[…] Gardner allowed tempos and the sentiments to expand, so the final love duet between Adam and Eve – sung with touching naivety and not even a trace of knowingness by soprano Sarah Tynan and Davies – unfolded with rapturous slowness”

    ★★★★ Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 5 Aug 18

    “[Gardner captured] the multi-coloured narrative with quasi-theatrical zeal”

    ★★★★★ Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 6 Aug 18

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    08 Jun 18 Elgar Symphony No. 2 / Serenade for Strings BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD Review

    “His finale is powerfully positive — the abrasive development played down, the conclusion radiant. The lovely Serenade completes a fine disc.”

    The Sunday Times, 27 May 2018

    “Gardner brings a fresh eye to detail (of which Elgar provided so much) and a flair for tapping the extremes of the music’s potential, while keeping a consistent sense of where the symphony is going.”

    “Few performances catch so ebulliently the joy of the music as this one, but Gardner also daringly slows the pace at times to encompass a visionary sense of passing time. ”

    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 8 June 2018

    ” […] an equally thoughtful and refined version of the Second”

    “Nothing is rushed or overdone, and the tender way handles the coda, with its final appearance of the “Spirit of Delight” theme, is as moving as any on disc.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 7 June 18

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    26 Apr 18 New York Philharmonic
    David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center

    “The New York Philharmonic’s concerts this week, conducted by Edward Gardner in his debut with the orchestra, project a delightful strain of perversity.”

    “Mr. Gardner’s well-judged, never-overblown performance showed a Philharmonic in fine fettle”

    James R. Oestreich, New York Times, 27 April 18

    “Gardner had the Philharmonic playing with commitment and polish.”

    Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review, 27 April 18

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    09 Mar 18 San Francisco Symphony
    Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

    “[The audience] witnessed an impressive conducting debut”

    “[Gardner is] a dynamic conductor, with an athletic podium manner that corresponds to his energetic interpretive approach. Throughout the evening […] you could hear him probing the music for every vital expressive nugget, and spurring the orchestra members to do the same.”

    “As a master of texture, phrasing and rhythmic detail, he’s obviously got plenty to offer.”

    Joshua Kosman, SFGate, 9 March 18

    “I do hope [Gardner] returns soon.”

    Jessica Balik, San Francisco Classical Voice, 12 March 18

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    13 Jan 18 BBC Philharmonic
    Bridgewater Hall

    “Lortie and Gardner rose to every temptation, and it was quite a lot of fun.”

    Robert Beale, The Arts Desk, 13 Jan 18

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    05 Nov 17 Philharmonia Orchestra
    Royal Festival Hall

    “His choice of Walton’s compact, theatrical Belshazzar’s Feast […] brought the Philharmonia Chorus back into its eponymous orchestra’s fold with a spectacular bang”

    Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 19 Nov 17

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    29 Oct 17 Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    ” […] a fierce, lucid account of Bartók’s last great masterpiece”

    ★★★★★ Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 29 Oct 17

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    21 Oct 17 Total Immersion: Julien Anderson BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Barbican Centre

    “Edward Gardner, technically lucid, was palpably committed to the Julian Anderson cause.”

    ★★★★★ Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 23 Oct 17

    “The piece […] [is] delivered with immaculate precision by Carolin Widmann and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner.”

    ★★★★ Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 23 Oct 17

    “The understated and ultra-clear conducting of Edward Gardner can only have been a calming presence.”

    ★★★★ Bernard Hughes, The Arts Desk, 23 Oct 17

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    13 Oct 17 Royal Scottish National Orchestra James Ehnes
    Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

    “What a superb concert this was, with Edward Gardner in magisterial form on the podium, ensuring that Sibelius’s structurally magnificent Symphony No. 2 was played with the sort of authority that honours that heritage.”

    ★★★★★ Keith Bruce, The Herald, 16 Oct 17

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    14 Aug 17 Peter Grimes Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Edinburgh International Festival

    “Already [this performance] has earned its place as a highlight of this year’s Edinburgh international festival.”

    “[Gardner] is clearly at one with his Norwegian players and long may that last.”

    ★★★★★ Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 18 Aug 17

    “Gardner would be hard to beat as a conductor of this opera”

    ★★★★★ Rebecca Franks, The Times, 15 Aug 17

    “The playing here was enthrallingly intense […] with Gardner holding nothing back from a score that is as savagely elemental as it is fiercely humane”

    ” […] a stupendous performance that rightly earned a tumultuous reception”

    ★★★★★ Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 14 Aug 17

    “Conductor Edward Gardner […] and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra gave us possibly the finest Storm I have ever heard. The string playing was superb throughout, and the brass world class as well.

    ★★★★★ Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 14 Aug 17

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    14 Aug 17 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Edinburgh International Festival

    “The musicians, under Gardner’s baton, created a fabulous rendition of this overture with effective emphasis on the variations of tone throughout. There was great precision from the brass section and the rousing finale almost raised the roof of the Usher Hall.”

    ★★★★★ Barbara Bryan, Edinburgh Guide, 13 Aug 17

    “Gardner’s account was tempestuous and dramatic, but not without time for the music’s luminous beauty”

    ★★★★ Rebecca Franks, The Times, 15 Aug 17

    “[Gardner] kept his focus on the immense journey of the piece, steering his Bergen players through the great spans of sound to reach an overwhelming closing climax”

    ★★★★ Svend McEwan-Brown, Herald Scotland, 13 Aug 17

    “Listening to Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 through the lens of Gardner and the BPO was a revelation.”

    “After this sensational, enlightened journey, Elgar will never sound the same again”

    ★★★★ Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman, 14 Aug 17


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    31 Jul 17 Mostly Mozart Festival
    David Geffen Hall

    “Edward Gardner […] manned his guest spot on the podium with equal parts flair and introspection throughout […] and made his attentive all-American players reinforce every subtle quaver and every noble quiver. [He] made it all seem grand and generous, and that is no mean trick.”

    ★★★★★ Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 31 July 17

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    19 Jul 17 Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Ravinia Festival

    “Gardner is among the rising stellars of his generation of British conductors, and his ongoing series of orchestral and choral discs on the Chandos label marks him as an exceptional talent.”

    “In any case, the CSO players responded well to Gardner’s vigorous, expressive manner, to his tensile way of signaling what he wanted from them at any given moment in the score. One could read his physical involvement in the music from his athletic eyebrows alone.”

    John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, 19 July 17


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    14 Jul 17 First Night of the Proms 2017 BBC Symphony Orchestra, 14 July 2017
    Royal Albert Hall

    “Conductor Edward Gardner led the BBC Symphony Orchestra off at a brisk pace, lifting the end of each phrase; the playing was charged and snappy, the spring coiled tight […] The First Night is always meant to be a celebration of some kind, but it doesn’t often get to be as affirmative as this.”

    ★★★★★ Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 15 July 2017

    ” And the massed forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, and BBC Proms Youth Choir delivered the piece with tremendous conviction and impeccable tuning under Edward Gardner’s baton.”

    ★★★★ Richard Morrison, 15 July 2017, The Times

    “The constant back-and-forth between stillness and speed was controlled by Gardner with superb assurance”

    ★★★★ Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 19 July 17

    “The BBC Symphony Orchestra […] roused itself with some panache under Edward Gardner.”

    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 16 July 2017

    “In the concert, conductor Edward Gardner did a fine job keeping everyone together with […] impressive communication with the singers.”

    Bernard Hughes, The Arts Desk, 15 July 2017

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    17 May 17 Tchaikosvky, Onegin Paris Opera

    “Gardner allowed the Paris strings to glow in Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score”

    Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack, 17 May 2017

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    14 May 17 Elgar The Sunday Times, 14 May 17

    “The British conductor is a seasoned Elgarian, and he coaxes playing of special splendour here from the brass and strings, which reveal richer sonorities in the saturated textures and brilliant contrapuntal writing.”

    ” … more Elgar from this source is greatly to be welcomed.”

    Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 14 May 2017

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    20 Feb 17 Holst - The Planets / Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra
    NYOB, Chandos Records, February 2017

    “Edward Gardner’s conducting of Strauss’s Nietzsche-inspired symphonic poem is impressively flowing and direct while still being flexible and also alive to small details; in return the members of the National Youth Orchestra play with confidence, poise and bravura, and a lack of indulgence on Gardner’s part is refreshing to the music as a whole… However, it’s The Planets that takes the bouquets, captured in sound, as ‘Mars’ announces immediately, which is that bit more tangible – indeed the war-mongering is hurled at the listener – Gardner not driving the music but ensuring tension-packed and increasing danger; the full force of the outsized NYO is uncompromising.”

    Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 20 February 2017

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    20 Feb 17 Massenet Werther: 16 February 2017
    Metropolitan Opera, New York

    “Massenet’s lush scores can easily wilt, but on Thursday, Edward Gardner led a performance that was sumptuous without ever slogging — not grandly imposing but straightforward and sincere. Lyrical expansion never stinted on forward-moving vigor, right up to the slashing grimaces in the low strings at the very end.”

    Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times, 17 February 2017

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    21 Jan 17 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, 20 January 2017
    Cadogan Hall, London

    “Within seconds we were reminded of the electricity Gardner can generate. ‘Morning Mood’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ have become staled by being used as background music, but the luscious Bergen strings illuminated each piece; ‘Morning Mood’ was magical with the reedy woodwinds bringing light and life to the birdsong, and ‘The Death of Åse’ was expressively nuanced. ‘Anitra’s Dance’ conveyed a sensual
    delicacy and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ showcased the Bergen bassoonists and the shimmering and sinister colours of the brass.”

    Amanda-Jane Doran, Classical Source, 20 January 2017

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    15 Jan 17 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, 15 January 2017
    Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden

    “[…] Gardner was consistent in maintaining musical tension, which translated here into brilliant, even ferocious energy. Composed in 1943 in a New York hospital bed, the music speaks of personal as well as political turmoil, and this searing performance addressed all its aspects. Gardner’s fluid baton meant that the mysterious opening, with mournfully muted trumpets, emerged just as grippingly as the more obvious, grotesque moments, and the big folk tune of the fourth movement swept along.”

    John Allison, The Telegraph, 17 January 2017

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    07 Jan 17 BBC Symphony Orchestra, 7 January 2017
    Barbican Centre, London

    “The burst of brass that opens Jealousy cuts like Steva’s knife, the low strings a knot of shame. Chords spread like bruises, uncooled by the balm of the clarinet solo. It’s a perfect fit for Gardner, whose instinct for the tension and relaxation in Janácek’s music is superb.”
    Anna Picard, The Times, 10 January 2017

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    04 Jan 17 In the Stream of Life: Songs by Sibelius
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Chandos Records, December 2016

    “Some of the songs are sinuously chromatic, a reminder of how close Sibelius came to Schoenberg’s world in the early years of the 20th century, while others rely more heavily on the 19th-century German lieder tradition, going right back to Schubert. Finley sings them all with his usual finesse and careful shading, reserving his full power for the few genuinely climactic moments, while alongside the songs Edward Gardner and his orchestra include very fine performances of three orchestral works.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian

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    01 Dec 16 Seattle Symphony Orchestra, 1 Dececmber 2016
    Benaroya Hall, Seattle

    “Edward Gardner’s powerful, impassioned conducting illuminated the life-and-death struggles of the score that Elgar called ‘the best of me’. From the opening phrases to the transcendent finale, the British-born maestro spurred the orchestra, chorale, and three particularly fine soloists forward in a performance that never lost focus or momentum. At particularly dramatic moments, Gardner practically levitated off the podium, sometimes gripping his baton with both hands and flailing it as if wielding a weapon.”

    Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, 2 December 2016

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    21 Oct 16 Minnesota Orchestra, 20 October 2016
    Orchestra Hall Minneapolis

    “It was a brilliant debut, epitomised in the electrifying performance of Berlioz’s overture to ‘Benvenuto Cellini’, which opened the concert. This is rhythmically tricky music, but Gardner, his body language bursting with tightly coiled energy, had its full measure. The orchestra’s playing bristled with vitality and the finale was scintillatingly executed.

    So, too, was the Second Suite from Ravel’s ballet “Daphnis and Chloe,” a sensual interpretation that benefited greatly from the clarity of Gardner’s baton technique and his gripping sense of theatre. He should be invited back as soon as possible.”

    Terry Blain, Star Tribune, 21 October 2016

    “Making his Minnesota Orchestra debut, Gardner demonstrated that he’s also an extraordinarily expressive artist, a graceful conductor who helped sculpt fascinating interpretations. This was evident not only on the Adams, but on a sumptuous version of Ravel’s second suite from his ballet, ‘Daphnis and Chloe’.”

    Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, 20 October 2016

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    30 Sep 16 Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Chandos Records, September 2016

    “… for luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement, Gardner’s Bergen forces offer something special.”

    Geoff Brown, The Times, 30 September 2016

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    14 Aug 16 Edinburgh International Festival, Elgar: The Apostles, 14 August 2016
    Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Usher Hall

    “Even fervent Elgarians can get a bit sniffy about The Apostles, the oratorio saddled with the reputation of being pallidly inferior to its more popular predecessor The Dream of Gerontius … Pish! And Edward Gardner – fast establishing himself as the successor to his mentor Mark Elder as the outstanding Elgar conductor of his generation – is clearly having none of it either. His blazing commitment to this incandescent performance was enough to convince anyone that, far from being an over-blown splurge of Edwardian religiosity, The Apostles was forged in the white heat of a master’s mature genius.”

    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 16 August 2016

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    31 Jul 16 BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra, 31 July 2016
    Royal Albert Hall

    “… Gardner proved an outstanding interpreter of two French classics, bringing innocence and charm to Ravel’s Mother Goose suite and fluidity and vigour to Debussy’s La Mer.”

    George Hall, Guardian, Tuesday 2 August 2016

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    27 Jul 16 Three Choirs Festival, Philharmonia, 27 July 2016
    Gloucester Cathedral

    “Nothing was more thrilling than the interventions of the four brass choirs strategically positioned around the chorus, notably in the wondrous Tuba mirum and again in the Lachrymosa, and – together with the ominous thunder of four timpanists with their 16 drums, right across the stage between orchestra and chorus – it made for a momentous aural experience. It was in balancing these vast colours vividly and with calm precision that conductor Edward Gardner was so very impressive, an altogether commanding presence.”

    Rian Evans, The Guardian, 28 July 2016

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    13 Jul 16 Verdi: Falstaff, 13 July 2016
    CBSO, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “Having marshalled a first-class cast, and in dynamic form on the podium, it was Edward Gardner, in his final appearance as the orchestra’s principal guest conductor, who masterminded the occasion, sparky and sparkling from beginning to life-affirming final chord … Remarkably, this was a performance with neither director nor props, but with Gardner making the action flow so naturally and with such pace as to belie that fact … This was the CBSO troupe covering themselves with glory.”

    ★★★★★ Rian Evans, The Guardian, 14 July 2016

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    09 Jun 16 Wagner: Tristan and Isolde, 9 June 2016
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “The hero of the evening for me was Edward Gardner, conducting a dramatically rich and emotionally sensitive interpretation of the score, superbly played by the orchestra. So it was in the pit rather than on stage that this Tristan had vivid life.”

    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 10 June 2016

    “The orchestral playing and Edward Gardner’s conducting were both magnificent.”

    Barry Millington, The Evening Standard, 10 June 2016

    “The loudest roars were for the Australian heldentenor Stuart Skelton, now a world-class Tristan, and for Edward Gardner, ENO’s former music director, conducting the work for the first time.”

    Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 12 June 2016

    “Edward Gardner […] gets the ENO orchestra to play Wagner’s score as if to the manner born.”

    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 10 June 2016

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    16 May 16 Janacek: Orchestral Works: Volume 3, Chandos February 2016
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    “… Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass is demanding of performers and requires special treatment at every turn. Edward Gardner’s interpretation succeeds superbly by focusing on the life-affirming qualities of the work, rather than going in search of its more ceremonial aspects. The please of the Gospodi, pomiluj [Kyrie] have genuine urgency and the opening of the Slava [Gloria] is infectiously joyous. The chorus is rhythmically crisp and unfailingly responsive, most effectively in the dramatic twists and turns of the Veruju [Credo].”

    BBC Music Magazine, Recording of the Month

    Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine, May 2016

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    05 May 16 Philharmonia, Thursday 5 May 2016
    Royal Festival Hall

    “Gardner’s Mozart was noble and spacious, with ample weight in the lower strings, carefully nuanced dynamics and delicately shaded woodwind.

    The colours grew wilder in the Elgar, almost narcotic in the cool choir of flutes and the soft tap of the timpani, almost gaudy in the unsteady gloss of brass and harps, yet still with a sprung quality to the bass line. The languid cello melody of the first movement was as palely beautiful as a Singer Sargent portrait subject, the Larghetto a hot house bloom, the Rondo vigorous, and the finale opulent with portamento strings.”

    Anna Picard, The Times, 9 May 2016

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    17 Mar 16 CBSO, 17 March 2016
    Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “… the most perfectly-judged performance of Elgar’s nostalgic Second Symphony I think I have ever heard. Compared with Gardner’s subtle reading, memories of Boult seemed too literal, Barbirolli too head-pattingly indulgent; here Gardner set flexible tempi, discreetly encouraged significant instrumental lines (the horns were understatedly magnificent, the double-basses noble), and to the slow movement’s threnody brought mystery as well as inner grief.”

    ★★★★★ Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 22 March 2016

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    17 Dec 15 BBC Symphony Orchestra, 17 December 2015
    Barbican Centre, London

    “Long established as one of the finest conductors of choral music, Edward Gardner turned his attention to A Child of Our Time for his latest concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. [He] realised superbly the work’s compassion and fury, its innate drama and its oscillations between despair and hope. Orchestral textures were dark and lean. The choral singing blazed with intensity and fervour, nowhere more so than in the spirituals that punctuate the work like chorales in a Bach Passion.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 18 December 2015

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    10 Dec 15 Schoenberg: Gurrelieder, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, 10 December 2015
    Grieghallen, Bergen

    “His [Schoenberg’s] style had developed radically by the time he finished it 11 years later, and Mahlerian influences emerge as well as the composer’s first use of Sprechstimme, the expressionist vocal technique that hovers between singing and speaking. All this was reflected in the sweep of Gardner’s conducting, by turns luminous and incisive. He unleashed the piece’s volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density, and somehow avoided drowning the singers.”

    ★★★★★ John Allison, The Telegraph, 11 December 2015

    “… as a dramatic and musical entity Gardner’s performance couldn’t be faulted, and with a team of soloists right out of the top drawer, he caught the score’s wonderful ambiguity too, celebrating the lushness of a post-Tristan musical world at the same time as peering over the edge into the much more uncertain and unstable world of expressionism.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 23 December 2015

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    14 Aug 15 RSNO, Edinburgh Festival, 14 August 2015
    Usher Hall, Edinburgh

    “Edward Gardner paired operatic scale with matter-of-fact clarity for an unflinching, vigorous, at times arrestingly stark account from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the male singers of the RSNO and Festival choruses and soloists Jukka Rasilainen and Anna Larsson. Crucially, Gardner didn’t fall for any romanticised evocations of northernness or machismo, but instead painted a harsh, lonely landscape in which Kullervo is a flawed and brutal character.”

    Sibelius: Kullervo

    Kate Molleson, The Guardian, Sunday 16 August 2015

    “What brought the two contrasting works together – and made the concert such a hugely rewarding experience – was the musical personality of conductor Edward Gardner. You could tell he’s had years in the opera pit: he tackled both pieces with a keen sense of storytelling, leading the listener through their vivid musical descriptions and shifting moods expertly. He drove the RSNO onwards with some urgent direction – but he was crystal clear, and precise in his demands. And in response, the Orchestra showed what it was capable of in thrillingly broad, sweeping playing, committed and secure.”

    David Kettle Saturday, The Arts Desk, 15 August 2015

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    09 Aug 15 Academy of Ancient Music, 9 August 2015
    Alice Tully Hall, New York

    “Was that really the Academy of Ancient Music, playing so roughly, almost raucously at times, in Mendelssohn’s ‘Scottish’ Symphony on Sunday? Yes, it was, and it was thrilling.

    On Sunday afternoon, it was the English maestro Edward Gardner leading the orchestra in a program of Mendelssohn at Alice Tully Hall as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival, and he elicited real electricity in the playing. In the symphony and another Scottish-themed work, Mendelssohn’s moody concert overture “The Hebrides,” Mr. Gardner — who had also conducted two concerts by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra over the weekend — challenged the Academy players with fast tempos, and they responded with hard-driving performances vividly evoking turbulent seas and changeable climates. But there were also moments of great delicacy, as with the evanescent pizzicatos at the end of the symphony’s Vivace non troppo movement, a quintessential Mendelssohn scherzo in all but name.

    Virtuosity was rife in the playing … the performance was everywhere atmospheric and exciting.”

    James R. Oestreichaug, New York Times, 10 August 2015

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    07 Aug 15 Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, 8 August 2015
    Avery Fisher Hall, New York

    “Mr. Gardner opened with a colorful account of Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz, bringing telling dramatic shape and a feel for surprise to the episodic score.

    The concert was excellent, especially the crackling, clearheaded account of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony that Mr. Gardner drew from the orchestra after intermission.”

    Anthony Tommasiniaug, New York Times, 9 August 2015

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    04 May 15 Janacek: Orchestral Works: Volume 2, Chandos May 2015
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    “It is the intense and gritty playing of the Bergeners, and Gardner’s evident empathy with Janacek, that make this music so compelling and dramatic.”

    Album of the week

    The Times, 6 May 2015

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    23 Apr 15 CBSO, 23 April 2015
    Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “The burning conviction that the CBSO’s principal guest conductor, Edward Gardner, brought to the score was obvious – he captured Tippett’s tumultuous energy and brightness, a myriad threads drawing the listener into a web of sound … With his firm grasp of overall trajectory, Gardner maintained the gradual accretion of nervous tension through the dancing scherzo and into the finale, never losing sight of the magical moments of vibrancy which recall his opera The Midsummer Marriage. The CBSO were on blistering form.”

    Rian Evans, The Guardian, Sunday 26 April 2015

    “With vigour, playful rubato and intoxicating cantabile strings, Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra made this tone poem sing brightly, proudly and persuasively. Both sides of Elgar’s temperament were featured in this programme: joy and despair.”

    Anna Picard, The Times, 27 April 2015

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    23 Mar 15 Walton: Symphony no. 2, Cello Concerto, Chandos, February 2015
    BBCSO / Paul Watkins

    “In the Second Symphony, Gardner is consistently highly impressive … deeply imaginative, wholly at one with the music – its depth of utterance, its myriad chiaroscuro orchestration, its sudden changes of orchestral texture, and constant sense of moving forwards, even when the basic tempo (as in the middle movement) is quite slow – all are grasped and understood by this conductor, and presented to us with an admirable combination of insight, spontaneity and freshness.

    There is nothing egotistical in these splendid interpretations, and the result is a set of consistently satisfying performances of the highest musical grasp and understanding. I cannot imagine anything finer then these.”

    Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, March 2015

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    07 Feb 15 Wagner: Meistersinger, February 2015
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “The ENO orchestra seems to come to life under Gardner. The prelude to Act III was spellbinding and showed us the essence of their playing: the word “poise” kept coming into my head. Gardner seemed to have total control of the dynamic shaping of each phrase, with the ebb and flow precisely measured and the level set to exactly what he wanted, whether for dramatic effect or for balance with singers.”

    ★★★★★ David Karlin, Bachtrack, 8 February 2015

    “Down in the pit, conductor Edward Gardner skilfully blends grandeur, emotion and warm-hearted humour, and allows the music to bloom in the Coliseum’s perfect Wagner acoustic.”

    ★★★★★ Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 9 February 2015

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    01 Nov 14 BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1 November 2014
    Barbican Centre, London

    “Gardner’s slow, moody account of the Unfinished Symphony, played with great beauty and depth of feeling, offered fresh insights into a work we sometimes take for granted.”

    Schubert:Symphony No 8 ‘unfinished’ 

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 2 November 2014

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    15 Sep 14 Verdi: Otello, September 2014
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “Edward Gardner’s conducting of his splendid orchestra was incandescent in its magnificence. The electrifying curtain-raising storm, the intricately tricky third-act ensemble, and the eerily bleak final scene were all sublimely rendered.”

    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 14 September 2014

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    10 Aug 14 National Youth Orchestra Tour, August 2014
    Gateshead, Birmingham, London

    “Though conducting the NYO for the first time, Edward Gardner seemed to have developed an instant rapport, igniting individual sections throughout the mysterious nocturne like fireflies. [Sage, Gateshead 7 August 2014]”

    Alfred Hickling, The Guardian, 8 August 2014

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    18 Jul 14 Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Tanglewood, USA

    “Gardner allowed the individual ‘star’ players, notably the principal French horn and oboist, to display their striking abilities to stunning effect, while allowing for the entire ensemble to support their colleagues’ exceptional solo playing with the outstanding team effort for which the BSO is so renowned. Maestro Gardner gave the overall impression of a remarkably gifted and already accomplished musician who will have much to offer as his career progresses.”

    Erica Miner, BWW, 22 July 2014

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    05 Jun 14 Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “The other firm hand on the tiller is that of the conductor Edward Gardner, who drives the music fast and furiously without losing its warmth: he draws lovely playing from the orchestra, and relaxes into the lyrical episodes, notably the exquisite duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano and Cellini’s climactic aria of self-dedication.”

    ★★★★★ Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 05 Jun 2014

    “Gardner invests this notoriously difficult score with all the cross-rhythmic verve it needs, and covers himself and his ensemble with glory.”

    Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 06 June 2014

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    01 May 14 Walton: Symphony no. 1, Violin Concerto
    BBC Symphony Orchestra

    “.. an interpretation in the same league as Previn’s near legendary 1966 recording, with thrilling momentum to match.

    Where Gardner and the BBC Symphony perhaps surpass Previn and the LSO is in their astonishingly accurate response to the teeming accents and dynamic markings. The result is a masterclass in how to generate formidable dramatic voltage while keeping the music’s eruptive energy on a tight rein – as in the first movement and finale, where Gardner’s precise control of tempo and decibel-level builds up, and then releases impressive firepower with minimum bombast.”

    Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine June 2014

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    13 Feb 14 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “This performance, one of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s series celebrating the Mendelssohn connection with their principal guest conductor Edward Gardner, swept away any notion of this as a stodgy, ponderous work. In the opening orchestral sinfonia, it was not that the meanings of the instructions maestoso and religioso were ignored; simply that any heaviness was dissipated, the music invested instead with airy, almost transparent textures and a lightness of step. Even the dotted rhythm of the recurring trombone theme took on a lively spring … in Gardner’s authoritative hands, new life was breathed into a work that suddenly seemed wrongly neglected.”

    Mendelssohn Symphony no. 2

    Rian Evans, The Guardian, Sunday 16 February 2014

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    03 Feb 14 Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Chandos
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    “Edward Gardner and the Birminghamsters catch the hazy ‘Scottish’ atmosphere of the Hebrides, and he is expansive in the outer movements of the Reformation, with its quotation of the Dresden Amen and Luther’s chorale, Ein feste Burg. The Italian Symphony is exhilaratingly delivered — with poetic solos in the andante con moto — especially the breathless Saltarello presto finale.”

    Sunday Times album of the week

    Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 29 January 2014

    “Edward Gardner characterises the land – and seascape of the ‘Hebrides’ Overture with a good ear for storm, surge and serenity, and the purposeful instrumental detail that he elicits is a vital factor, too, in the ‘Reformation’ Symphony.

    The depth of sonority at the start (with solemn double basses and brass) yields to a powerfully executed first movement, stirring in its drive and drama, with the ensuing scherzo light yet firm of accent.

    The music’s essential seriousness, well defined here, contrasts with the airy exuberance of the “Italian” Symphony, crisp, animated, warm and enchanting.”

    Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, 20 February 2014

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    29 Jan 14 Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “Gardner conducted David Alden’s production when it was new in 2009 and at the Proms in 2012. The score is fully under his skin, which means it is now implanted under ours. Details I’ve never heard seep out: some glacially beautiful, others darkly abrasive. And the great Sea Interludes are so tautly integrated into the whole canvas that I don’t really want to hear them in the concert hall again.”

    Neil Fisher, The Times, 31 January 2014

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    20 Dec 13 BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Barbican Centre, London

    “In philosophical terms, you could summarise the evening as a musical transfiguration of life through love and death – an unusually powerful dramaturgical thread for an “ordinary” symphony concert. Edward Gardner articulated some of these ideas in a short speech from the podium – a good example of how and when a conductor can communicate directly with the audience.

    The orchestra played with fibre. Gardner’s skilful grading of the Tristan Prelude – where to “place” the climax and how to wind it down – suggested it may be time he conducted the entire opera at English National Opera, where he is music director. His Strauss exuded the same easy command, but it was the Webern that impressed most. The Passacaglia is not as dry or forbidding as its composer’s reputation suggests. What it needs is lucidity and sweep, passion and commitment, and Gardner gave it just that.”

    Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 23 December 2013

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    22 Nov 13 Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
    Metropolitan Opera, New York

    “The highpoint was Edward Gardner’s conducting … it was virile when necessary, gentle when called for, without ever being heavy or uncontrolled. Best of all was an inerrant sense of pacing, through which Strauss’ most sublime conclusion before Capriccio felt both welcome and deserved.”

    David Allen, Bachtrack, 25 November 2013

    “Nuances of speech are crucial to the wit and the pathos of the opera. That every word came through clearly is surely due in part to the production’s German coach, Marianne Barrett. But it was also thanks to the precision work of the conductor Edward Gardner, who drew an impassioned and nuanced performance from the Met Orchestra that never overpowered the singers.”

    Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, 27 November 2013

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    04 Nov 13 Bartok: Four Orchestral Pieces, Chandos
    Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

    “Australia’s oldest orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony, founded in 1906, brings high energy and finesse to these Bartók performances under the incisive baton of Edward Gardner. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta opens mysteriously with the chromatic Andante tranquillo. The Allegro is demonic, the Adagio luscious and the Allegro full of runaway spirit and urgency.”

    ★★★★★ Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 8 December 2013

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    21 Oct 13 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “Mendelssohn is being conjured out of the mists in Birmingham Town Hall, where he enjoyed some of his greatest triumphs. Under Edward Gardner’s spirited direction, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has embarked on a live and recorded cycle of his symphonies.”

    Richard Morrison, The Times, 22 October 2013

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    26 Sep 13 Opening of Milton Court, City of London
    Guildhall Symphony Orchestra

    “We heard the hall at its best in the accompaniments of the pared-down Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, deftly and imaginatively conducted by Edward Gardner.”

    Hugo Shirley, The Telegraph, 27 September 2013

    “Its acoustics were amply tested by the opening gala, given by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner. Elgar’s swaggering Cockaigne Overture — an apt celebration of Cockneys for this quintessential London occasion — sounded terrific: the sound rich but the fortissimos not overwhelming.”

    Richard Morrison, The Times, 30 September 2013

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    07 Aug 13 BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Royal Albert Hall

    “Gardner expertly marshalled Lutosławski’s teeming textures [Lutoslawski Symphonic Variations and Piano Concerto]. He paired the two works with Holst [The Planets] … a typically brisk, abrasive account, in which no details were overlooked. Between the Variations and the Concerto he placed a beautifully restrained and delicately coloured unfolding of Egdon Heath, Holst’s masterly late tone poem … Gardner seemed to relish its palette of greys and pastels, and judged it perfectly.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 8 August 2013

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    25 Jun 13 Britten: War Requiem
    CBSO, City of London Festival, St Paul's Cathedral

    “Edward Gardner conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a performance that thrilled and moved … Gardner’s track record both as choral conductor and Britten interpreter is impeccable, and, as might be expected, his handling of the work’s complex juxtaposition of disparate elements was supremely intelligent, without losing sight of its power. Speeds were on the slow side. Formal ritual embraced and contained visceral emotion. Britten’s shifting perspectives, envisioning war as a communal catastrophe that destroys the individual soul, were exposed with horrifying clarity. The orchestral sound was broodingly dark and Mahlerian, the choral singing pitch-perfect and wonderfully committed.”
    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 26 June 2013

    “Gardner profiled the waves of sound in the “Sanctus” as dramatically as he ratcheted up the baleful intensity of the “Libera me”. The eerie quiet of the finale, summoning the spiritual emptiness of the battlefield, was equally well judged.”

    Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 26 June 2013

    “The piece presents several problems of direction and balance for the conductor. It’s scored for chorus and huge orchestra, a separate chamber ensemble accompanying the soloists, two organs and a boys’ choir, required to sing at an ethereal distance. In the cavernous acoustic of St Paul’s, the potential for disaster was significant but Gardner triumphed, displaying total command of his massive forces.”

    Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 30 June 2013

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    14 Jun 13 Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “The musical inspiration that Edward Gardner discovers and imparts struck me as even more impressive than it had first time round; he is clearly one of the foremost opera conductors of our time.”
    Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 22 June 2013

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    01 Jun 13 Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester
    Philharmonie Berlin

    “So animiert er das Orchester zu klanglichen Hochleistungen: in den „Sea Interludes“ von Britten, dessen „Peter Grimes“ der Deutschen Oper jüngst zum Triumph geriet, mehr noch in Bartóks Konzert für Orchester.”

    Sybill Mahlke, Der Tagesspiegel, 3 June 2013

    “Der 39-jährige Dirigent Edward Gardner, der am Freitag sein Debüt beim Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester in der Philharmonie gab, versteht sein Handwerk nicht als Versuch der Einfühlung in ein Kunstwerk, sondern als Kunst des technischen Organisation dieses Kunstwerks – damit das Publikum sich einfühlen kann. Es ist eine gute Stoßrichtung: Wie oft hat man schon in Béla Bartóks “Konzert für Orchester” das anfängliche Streicherbass-Rezitativ und den quer davon wegschwebenden Violinen-Akkord als einen dunkel dräuenden Romantizismus gehört. Gardner dagegen kantet die Ebenen klar gegeneinander, denn schließlich ging es Bartók in diesem letzten Werk nicht um geheimnisvollen Seelenbotschaften, sondern um innovative musikalische Gedanken, die nüchtern von den Eigenheiten der Instrumente her gedacht sind. Auch die von Bartók mutwillig gefälschte Sinnlichkeit des vierten Satzes mit jener gezwirbelten musikalischen Schmalzlocke vermittelt Gardner dem Orchester detailliert, aber sachlich. Gefühle darf dabei nur der Hörer zeigen – wenn er sich vom Komponisten auf die falsche Fährte locken und dann umso schmerzhafter die grellen Posaunencluster um die Ohren hauen lassen will.”

    Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost, 4 June 2013

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    15 May 13 Benjamin Britten: Chandos
    Philharmonia Orchestra

    “The Britten centenary is turning into a CD bonanza. Hot on the heels of Ian Bostridge’s song anthology comes this pairing of the two prewar concertos that announced Britten as a brilliant young composer of instrumental music. Both receive performances of heat, drive and passion, buoyed by the lively BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner. Shelley captures the Piano Concerto’s swirling sensuousness (with an extra track for the slow movement Britten replaced in 1945), while Little delivers the Violin Concerto with quicksilver intensity. A rapturous disc.”

    ★★★★★ Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 17 May 2013

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    11 May 13 Alban Berg: Wozzeck
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “It is good to welcome back Wozzeck to English National Opera after an absence of 25 years, and even better to salute the outstanding musical quality of the performance under ENO’s talismanic music director, Edward Gardner.

    His is an extremely tactile reading, more Debussyan than Mahlerian in its delicacy, serenity and atmospheric colouring, but also frighteningly intense where it matters – supremely so in the long eruptive crescendo after the Drum Major’s seduction of Marie, and again in the overwhelming grandeur of the final interlude. Gardner keeps the dialogues on a tight rein, favours light textures and shows an easy grasp of Berg’s gestural language. Played without interval, the 90-minute performance roots the drama in the music.”

    Andrew Clark, Financial Times, May 2013

    “This is another major achievement for conductor Edward Gardner, who is wonderfully alert to every nuance, while ratcheting up the intensity to almost unbearable levels at times.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, May 2013

    “Tom Randle’s Captain, sniggering, nervy and apoplectic, is a fine characterisation, as is James Morris’s monstrous Doctor. Underpinning it all is the superlative conducting of Edward Gardner, which emphasizes the raw, raucous qualities of the score but also its searing humanity.”

    Barry Millington, London Evening Standard, May 2013

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    07 Mar 13 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
    Hamer Hall, Melbourne

    “Gardner delivered an impassioned introduction during the lengthy reset for the stage requirements of Bela Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, whose specific scoring for two string orchestras exploits stereophonic effects. The intensity of the opening movement’s slow fugue was beautifully modulated and, delivering precise pizzicato, the strings coped well with the ever-changing time signature and furious pace of the Allegro.”

    Martin Duffy, The Age, 9 March 2013

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    25 Feb 13 Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works IV, Chandos
    BBC Symphony Orchestra

    “Witold Lutoslawski (1913-94) wrote much of his First Symphony during the second world war. The opening has an angular, witty quality mirrored in the last movement, with no hint at the turbulence of the times. In contrast, the inner sections have a strange melancholy – in the Adagio, a sorrowful string tune and mawkish oboe solo, in the Allegretto a subdued waltz. The BBCSO and Edward Gardner, in the latest of this excellent series, capture the range of moods eloquently.”

    Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 17 March 2013

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    21 Feb 13 Elgar: Dream of Gerontius
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Grieghallen, Bergen

    “For an orchestra with international ambitions, it is undoubtedly a gift that Edward Gardner joins the team … Gardner manages to almost merge with the musicians, creating formidable moments.”

    Espen Selvik, Bergens Tidende, 22 February 2013

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    17 Feb 13 Benjamin Britten: Spring Symphony
    Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

    “Gardner and the Philharmonia did fine things with its [Bridge: The Sea] sensuous textures and muted turbulence. The third movement, Moonlight – Britten re-used the title for one of the interludes in Grimes – was ravishing.

    The Spring Symphony was tremendous. Britten always brings out the best in Gardner, whose understanding of this unwieldy score was exceptional. From the opening evocation of the chill of winter to the jubilant closing processional based on Sumer Is Icumen In, the sometimes meandering emotional trajectory was immaculately negotiated and paced.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 19 February 2013

    “Britten’s Spring Symphony is at present somewhat less elusive than spring itself. Last month in Birmingham, this month in London: Edward Gardner passed the baton from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to the Philharmonia where, using Birmingham’s own unsurpassed choral forces, he conducted another light-filled performance of Britten’s first large-scale work for chorus and orchestra — and the sap was certainly rising.”
    Hilary Finch, The Times, 19 February 2013

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    17 Jan 13 Britten, Bridge, Elgar
    CBSO, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    “Edward Gardner sifted out any spare sentiment from the work’s performing tradition and, clarifying every orchestral texture, he drove the rhythms hard, emphasising the music’s thrummings, pulsations, hot blood and rising sap.”

    Hilary Finch, The Times, 22 January 2013

    “Principal guest conductor Edward Gardner presided over a powerfully committed account of Bridge’s Suite The Sea … Gardner’s reading was perceptively shaped, responsive to Bridge’s polyglot language (Stravinsky in particular, but thankfully none of the mawkishness of some of his English contemporaries), and drawing particular character from the remarkable CBSO woodwind soloists … There were smiles on so many faces as we ventured out into the night to see what winter had to throw at us.”

    Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 25 January 2013

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    11 Jan 13 Swedish Radio Orchestra
    Berwaldhallen, Stockholm

    “Edward Gardner gave a youthful but mature impression. With a concerted and intense body language he led the musicians in a dramatic performance with a wealth of shades.”

    Lars Hedblad, Svenska Dagbladet, 12 January 2013

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    01 Jan 13 Szymanowski: Orchestral Works, Chandos
    BBC Symphony Orchestra

    “Edward Gardner begins his Szymanowski survey for Chandos at the beginning, with the Polish composer’s first orchestral work, the Concert Overture Op 12. His gloriously broad and sweeping account of a work that reflects Szymanowski’s seemingly boundless admiration for Richard Strauss’s symphonic poems sets the tone for a disc that emphasises the composer’s late romantic affiliations rather than his modernist ones, especially with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on opulent form.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 24 January 2013

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    13 Dec 12 Walton: Viola Concerto, Mahler: Symphony No. 1
    Juilliard Orchestra, Alice Tully Hall

    “Mr. Gardner elicited spirited and polished playing from the young musicians throughout … All sections of the Juilliard ensemble shone in the intense and beautifully detailed performance of the Mahler symphony led by Mr. Gardner, from the radiant opening, with its shimmering A, to the exuberant conclusion.”

    Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, 16 December 2012

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    01 Jun 12 Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd
    English National Opera, London Coliseum

    “In the authoritative hands of conductor Edward Gardner, Britten’s score flares, sparks and fractures with white heat and luminescence. The ENO orchestra is on blazing form.”

    Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 24 June 2012

    “The one unmitigated good thing is the conductor, driving Britten’s great score like a master and commander on his ship – indeed, like the Vere we should be seeing on stage.”

    Ismene Brown, The Arts Desk, 19 June 2012


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    Schubert Symphonies, Vol.1

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Feb 19

    SCHUBERT Symphony No. 3
    SCHUBERT Symphony No. 5
    SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8

    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

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    Berlioz: Grande Messe / Des Morts

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Oct 18

    BERLIOZ Grande Messe des morts

    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Choir of Collegium Musicum
    Edvard Grieg Kor
    Bergen Philharmonic Choir

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    Saint-Saëns - Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2, and 4

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Sep 18

    SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 1
    SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2
    SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 4

    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    Piano: Louis Lortie
    BBC Philharmonic

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    Elgar - Symphony No. 2 / Serenade for Strings

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jun 18

    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    BBC Symphony Orchestra

    ELGAR Symphony No. 2
    ELGAR Serenade for Strings

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    Grieg - Peer Gynt / Piano Concerto

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 02 Jan 18

    GRIEG Piano Concerto
    GRIEG Incidental Music to ‘Peer Gynt’


    Conductor: Edward Gardner
    Piano: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Choirs

    Soprano: Lise Davidsen
    Soprano: Ann-Helen Moen
    Soprano: Victoria Nava
    Baritone: Johannes Weisser
    Hardanger fiddle: Håkon Høgemo


    “Gardner is certainly alive to the drama of the tale”

    “Gardner is particularly magical in the way he melds the string lines, starting with minimal vibrato before becoming more ardent.”

    “In the Piano Concerto, Gardner brings to the table flair, drive and an almost Tchaikovskian lushness to the string sound”

    Harriet Smith, Gramophone, 2 Jan 18

    “One listen and you’ll be pining for the fjords too”

    Neil Fisher, The Times, 5 Jan 18

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    Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

    BARTÓK Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2

    BARTÓK Dance Suite


    Violin: James Ehnes

    Cimbalom: Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen

    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

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    Elgar: Symphony No. 1

    Label: Chandos

    ELGAR Introduction and Allegro

    ELGAR Symphony No. 1


    Doric String Quartet

    BBC Symphony Orchestra

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    Holst: The Planets, Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra

    Label: Chandos Records

    Release Date: 27 Jan 17

    National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

    Conductor: EDWARD GARDNER

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    Sibelius: In the Stream of Life, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos Records

    Release Date: 30 Dec 16

    Bass-baritone: Gerald Finley

    Bergen Philharmic Orchestra


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    Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos Records

    Release Date: 30 Sep 16

    Soprano – Alwyn Mellor
    Mezzo – ANNA LARSSON
    Tenor – Stuart Skelton
    Tenor – Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
    Bass – James Creswell
    Speaker – Thomas Allen

    Bergen Philharmonic Choir
    Choir of Collegium Musicum
    Edvard Grieg Kor

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    Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. III, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos Records

    Release Date: 04 Feb 16

    Glagolitic Mass, JW III/9 (1926-27)
    Sara Jakubiak soprano
    Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano
    Stuart Skelton tenor
    Gabor Bretz bass
    Thomas Trotter organ
    Bergen Philharmonic Choir
    Choir of Collegium Musicum
    Edvard Grieg Kor

    Adagio for orchesetra JW VI/5

    Zdravas Maria, JW II/14 (1904)
    David Stewart violin
    Karstein Askeland organ
    Sara Jakubiak soprano

    Otce nas, JW IV/29 (1901 revised 1906)
    Johannes Wik harp
    Karstein Askeland organ
    Stuart Skelton tenor

    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
    Edward Gardner

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    Mendelssohn in Birmingham Vol. 4, CBSO

    Label: Chandos Records

    Release Date: 15 Dec 15

    Violin Concerto, Op. 64

    Incidental Music to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Op. 61

    Jennifer Pike violin

    Rhian Lois soprano I

    Keri Fuge soprano II

    CBSO Youth Chorus

    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Edward Gardner

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    Poulenc: Piano Concertos, Aubade, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 15 Sep 15

    Piano Concerto
    Concerto for Two Pianos
    Sonata for Piano Four Hands
    L’Embarquement pour Cythère

    Edward Gardner | Conductor
    Louis Lortie, Hélène Mercier | Piano
    BBC Philharmonic

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    Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. II, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 20 Apr 15

    Violin Concerto ‘The Wandering of a Little Soul’
    The Ballad of Blanik
    The Fiddler’s Child
    The Danube
    Taras Bulba

    Edward Gardner
    James Ehnes: violin
    Melina Mandozzi: violin
    Susanna Andersson: soprano

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    Walton: Symphony no. 2, Cello Concerto, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 02 Mar 15

    Paul Watkins: Cello

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    Mendelssohn in Birmingham Vol. 3, CBSO

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Feb 15

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    Szymanowski: Orchestral Works II, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 22 Oct 14

    Symphony No 1 in F minor, Op 15

    Symphony No 3 ‘The Song of the Night’, Op 27

    Love-Songs of Hafiz, Op 26


    Ben Johnson

    BBC Symphony Chorus / Orchestra

    Edward Gardner

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    Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 29 Sep 14

    Janáček: Sinfonietta

    Janáček: Capriccio

    Janáček: Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen

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    Mendelssohn in Birmingham Vol. 2, CBSO

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Sep 14

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    Walton: Symphony no. 1, Violin Concerto, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 28 Apr 14

    Tasmin Little: violin

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    Verdi: Macbeth

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 22 Mar 14

    English National Opera

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

    Simon Keenlyside baritone – Macbeth

    Brindley Sherratt bass – Banquo

    Latonia Moore soprano – Lady Macbeth

    Gwyn Hughes Jones tenor – Macduff

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    Britten: Death in Venice

    Label: Opus Arte

    Release Date: 03 Mar 14

    Conductor: Edward Gardner

    Director: Deborah Warner

    Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

    Gustav von Aschenbach: John Graham-Hall

    Traveller/Elderly Fop/Gondolier/Barber/Hotel Manager/Player/Dionysus: Andrew Shore

    Apollo: Tim Mead

    Tadzio: Sam Zaldivar

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    Mendelssohn in Birmingham, CBSO

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 03 Feb 14

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    Bartok: Four Orchestral Pieces, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 04 Nov 13

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    Szymanowski: Stabat Mater, Harnasie, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 02 Sep 13

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

    Lucy Crowe: Soprano

    Pamela Helen Stephen: Mezzo-soprano

    Gabor Bretz: Baritone

    Robert Murray: Tenor

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    Britten: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto, BBC Philharmonic

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Apr 13

    Howard Shelley: Piano

    Tasmin Little: Violin

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works IV, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 25 Feb 13

    Michael Collins: Clarinet

    Tasmin Little: Violin

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Szymanowski: Orchestral Works, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jan 13

    Piano: Louis Lortie

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    Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works III, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Oct 12

    Cello: Paul Watkins

    “The performances continue the highly favorable impression of this series to date, with Gardner securing playing of real immediacy and finesse from a BBC Symphony Orchestra that sounds as fully engaged in the lighter aspect of the composer’s music as in its more searching utterances.”

    Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review, December 2012

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    Berio: Realisations, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jan 12

    Baritone: Roderick Williams

    Clarinet: Michael Collins

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    Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works II, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 15 Dec 11

    Piano: Louis Lortie

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    Lutoslawski: Vocal Works, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 15 Aug 11

    Lucy Crowe

    Toby Spence

    Christopher Purves

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    Britten: BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 11 Apr 11

    Phaedra, Op. 93

    A Charm of Lullabies, Op. 41

    Lachrymae, Op. 48a

    Two Portraits

    Sinfonietta, Op. 1

    Sarah Connolly: Mezzo Soprano

    Maxim Rysanov: Viola

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Britten: Works for Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 15 Feb 11

    Paul Watkins: Cello

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works I, BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 15 Sep 10

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    Susan Gritton sings Britten, Finzi, Delius: BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Apr 10

    Finzi: Dies natalis, Op.8

    Britten: Les Illuminations, Op.18

    Britten: Quatre Chansons françaises

    Delius: A Late Lark

    Susan Gritton: Soprano

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Gerald Finley: Great Operatic Arias

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Feb 10

    London Philharmonic Orchestra

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    ‘Midsummer Night’, Kate Royal, English National Opera Orchestra

    Label: EMI Classics

    Release Date: 01 May 09

    Kate Royal: Soprano

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    Kate Royal, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

    Label: EMI Classics

    Release Date: 03 Sep 07

    Kate Royal: Soprano

    Edward Gardner: Conductor

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    ‘Caprice’: Alison Balsom, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

    Label: EMI Classics

    Release Date: 18 Sep 06

    Alison Balsom: Trumpet

    Edward Gardner: Conductor


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